Changemakers shine at White House’s South by South Lawn

What do actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the CEO of an agricultural tech startup and funk-soul band the Dap-Kings have in common?

President Obama invited them to a decked-out White House for South by South Lawn, a festival of changemakers.

“Park People,” detailed Lego sculptures by Nathan Sawaya, dotted the grounds of the White House, where the president talked about climate change and Mars with DiCaprio. The noted actor and environmentalist premiered his new documentary about climate change, Before the Flood. Danielle Gould, founder of Food+Tech Connect, led a discussion on the innovative ways people and tech are transforming the future of food.

The October 3 South by South Lawn was designed to replicate the vibe of South by Southwest (SXSW), the 10-day music, film and innovation festival held annually in Austin, Texas.

Tech blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash said the South Lawn festival was a way to make connections between Austin’s SXSW, with its ideas for changing the world, and the people who are “doing the actual work” to use technology to improve worker rights, civil rights and more.

The White House techfest also featured a student film festival, a wall of art made of Post-its, a demonstration of technologies to drive prison reform and help disabled people, and lots of music.

You can check out #SXSL and the White House for videos of all of the events.

This article draws on reports from the Associated Press.